Press Statement November 2, 2019
Don’t Proceed with RCEP
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The last-minute negotiations are in progress to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a mega Free Trade Agreement (FTA) being negotiated between ASEAN, China, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea and India. The secretive and undemocratic manner in which BJP Central government is conducting these negotiations for RCEP without involving the stakeholders and without consulting the states and parliament is highly objectionable.
If India chooses to join this FTA, it will harm India’s manufacturing and agriculture and widen the country’s current account deficit. This will in turn have serious adverse consequences on employment and people’s wellbeing.
Due to previous government’s decisions to prematurely open up the Indian economy, India’s trade deficit has seen a steady increase and stands currently at 184 Billion USD. The present proposed FTA would exacerbate it further as it faces a deficit with almost all its existing FTA partners.
At a time when Indian manufacturing is already dealing with a slowdown and rural distress is continuing unabated, eliminating import duties, in addition to making pledges on investment, Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), services and e-commerce under RCEP will completely constrain the government’s ability to form an effective policy for revival of manufacture and for overcoming the ongoing agrarian crisis.
We urge the government to not sign the agreement hastily and demand to put the draft of it before the ensuing session of the Parliament.
The CPI(M) extends its solidarity and support to the all-India protest on November 4 called by Kisan organisations against the proposed RCEP.